Lajja Devi and Ojaswi Raje had been weeping continually for around four hours. For the first two hours they could be heard up to the first floor corridor. They were weeping silently when Shiv came to take them home. Lopamudra was there too, trying to calm them down. Lajja wanted to stay but Shiv said it was father’s wish that he took the ladies back home. So, home they went, all but one. Lopa was not known as the one who fulfilled the wishes of others, especially if they were Bhaal’s friends. She stayed and waited for her friend Kavita Munshi.
Kavita was the matron of the ward of Oncology Department. They were school friends. Lopa’s father was the Assistant Station Master at Varanasi Cantt for over two decades, and Kavita’s father was his boss. The two girls had grown up together in the Railway Colony, where trains and not the setting and rising of the sun declared when the morning began and when the day ended. Kavita was a spinster and used to live in the staff quarters of the Institute. She had adopted Shekhar, the son of Bindeshwari, her sister’s widow sister-in-law, when he was just an infant. The mother and her son had lived with Kavita since then, in a way adopting her too.
Lopa was a regular visitor to Kavita’s quarters. Her status there was more like that of a sister. She was Bindeshwari’s friend too. Their gossiping sessions were notorious throughout the internal circle of their family and friends. Lopa did not care much for Bhanu, or Rudra, or even Bhaal, for that matter. She had no family life in her husband’s house. Her family was out in the world. There was one more reason that brought her to Kavita’s place. Bindeshwari used to prepare the best fish curry in the world. They had planned the same for the dinner that night. The dinner was quite satisfactory, taste wise and by gossip volume too. The main attraction of the night was the postprandial chat session and that night was the night of full soliloquy. Lopa’s soliloquy.
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